Tis the season for White Christmas Cupcakes.
Though in the Seattle area, we are more accustomed to wet holidays than the white variety… which I'm absolutely not complaining about, since my car readily doubles as a sled when there is so much as a blush of frost on the ground.
I'll take frosty christmas cupcakes over the real thing any day. More so today, since I was having a raging pregnancy sugar craving.
While the desire for sweets was strong, the desire to actually do the work to produce them was not.
Today I needed something tasty, easy and bloggable.
I pestered Mr. Humble at work for help with an idea and he sent me the following text message:
"Ready made pie crust + instant pudding"Smart ass. It did give me an idea though...
Now, I can be persnickety about how things are done in the kitchen, but I'm really not overly dogmatic about baking. Cooking is a joy but sometimes we need to... well, expedite things a little. We have days where we are tired, pregnant, busy, or just want cram sweet desserts into our faces in under an hour.
That's when I pull out the cake mix. It happens.
While many things are best done from scratch, I have few qualms about using cake mix when making ordinary cupcakes. Sure, I have dozens of recipes for white cupcakes, including those from the likes of Thomas Keller, and I am quite capable of making them. Sometimes though, you just don't want to spend two hours in the kitchen cooking from scratch. That time is better spent doing laundry… or eating half a dozen cupcakes.
Probably the latter.
Does occasionally indulging in short-cut baking mean Ms. H is turning into Semi-Homemade's Sandra Lee? Uh, no. I think some time savers are permissible in baking, provided they don't lead to this:
The only thing that would prompt me to start advocating the creation of desserts on par with the previous cake, is a radical lobotomy.
CornNuts™ sprinkled over fresh-from-the-jar frosting is an abomination. Using the occasional box mix as a short cut to cupcakes is not. Those are the rules …that I just wrote.
adapted from The Cupcake Deck, a rather cute little collection of recipe cards stuffed into Ms. H's stocking a few years ago.
2 dozen baked and cooled white cupcakes
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces chopped white chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
block of white chocolate for curls
powdered sugar for dusting.
Gently melt the white chocolate over a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool until just barely warm.
Combine the white chocolate, butter, vanilla and cream cheese in the bowl of your mixer and beat until smooth. (It is important that the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature, as any chill will result in the chocolate hardening and creating a grainy or lumpy frosting.) Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth.
To make perfect chocolate curls you need a sharp knife, a sturdy block of chocolate and a little warmth. Warm the surface of the chocolate block briefly with your hand (protected with a piece of cling wrap) and then shave the block with your knife to remove a curls (repeat). If the chocolate is slightly warm it is easier to produce sturdy curls. If the chocolate is too cool, shaving it with a knife will only produce brittle chocolate shavings.
Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cupcake, top with white chocolate curls and dust with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.